Concert review: One Direction in Auckland

By Lydia Jenkin

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One Direction perform at Vector Arena in Auckland. Photo / Norrie Montgomery
One Direction perform at Vector Arena in Auckland. Photo / Norrie Montgomery

There will be a few deaf parents, and a few hoarse young girls in Auckland today - the phenomenal screaming from the crowd that lasted for a more than three hours at One Direction's show on Saturday night was almost unfathomable.

But it was to be expected - the British boy band have engendered a ridiculously passionate, vocal fan base over the last three years, winning the hearts of young girls with a bit of cheek, a dash of charm, and a few songs which encapsulate everything a tweenage girl would want to hear from her first crush.

It seems they're everything Simon Cowell could've wished for when he signed them up.

Video

Except if they had performed for Cowell the way they performed at Vector Arena on Saturday night, it's unlikely he would've been impressed.

While all the basic expectations of a pop concert were met, the boys entirely lacked for any soul, intensity, or showmanship.

It wasn't exactly unprofessional, but it was the epitome of a phoned-in, by the script performance. All the lasers, smoke machines, and set-dressing couldn't make up for a very bland delivery.

Yes, they jumped about, smiled, and sang lots of songs (and while sometimes pitchy, they were mostly drowned out by the crowd singing along).

But there's a few things the boys could definitely do better.

Their lax approach to choreography needs a rethink. Simply wandering around the stage, making silly jokes with the band members, and occasionally strolling in a circle at the end of the catwalk, takes the, "We're too cool to dance" attitude a little far.

Sitting down for a couple of ballads might be permitted, but it seemed like a weird choice for hit ballad Last First Kiss, which should've been huge.

Then they really need to learn the art of crowd banter. Asking if everyone is ready to have fun, and telling the audience in a patronising manner that they might be the loudest crowd for their size, not just once or twice, but over and over, becomes excruciating.

Niall's repetitive mock interviews with the other band mates add nothing to their charm, and the segment midway through the show where they take three Twitter requests from the audience (could they do the time warp, the haka, and a Kiwi accent) was simply awkward and half-hearted.

The songs they seemed to enjoy performing most were covers of One Way Or Another, and Teenage Dirtbag, which gives the impression perhaps the five 20 year olds feel they've outgrown their cutie-pie phase. It would certainly be understandable.

Little Things (written for the band by fellow Brit star Ed Sheeran) was an obvious stand-out, with Niall on guitar, and Harry turning in a good vocal, and their encore of Best Song Ever and What Makes You Beautiful finally seemed to draw some energy from the lads, but it still felt like they were paying lip-service to a crowd who'd coughed up $130 each to be there.

Of course none of that stopped the screaming, or breathless adoration (bored parents, and sleeping six-year-olds aside), even the blaringly bad advertising and pre-show setlist (Marcarena and the Grease soundtrack featured) got some solid cheers.

But it was disappointing to find a group that come across like sparkling demi-gods of exuberant adolescence in their videos, were so thoroughly boring, and bored, in their live performance.

Who: One Direction
What: Take Me Home tour
Where and when: Vector Arena, Saturday, October 12

- NZ Herald

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